Madonna of the Trail
(now in Rockville, Maryland)
submitted by “wendyvee”
Yes, my long quest to locate the missing Bethesda Madonna has finally ended!
When I first planned to find her back in May of 2006, I was told by a friend that I might have a problem with that . . . because she had been “removed” due to a sinkhole at her Bethesda home in December of 2004. See Washington Post removal article here.
In early June of 2006, I set out to find her temporary home in Rockville. I had a street address in metro-Rockville and I traveled up and down the road that she was supposedly on for 45 minutes to an hour with no luck.
I stopped and asked about her at least 4 or 5 times at different businesses in the area — they had all heard of her, but nobody knew where she was. I even detoured to her old location in Bethesda (a congested nightmare of a town). At that point, frustrated and disappointed, my only guess was that she had been stored indoors somewhere.
After my foiled attempt in Rockville, I became curious and emailed the Daughters of the American Revolution (they maintain each of the Madonnas). I received a very nice email explaining that she currently rests in the Police & Fire Academy rear parking area near the address where I had searched previously. It is not visible from the road!
Aggravatingly enough, I know that I turned around in the front parking lot several times during my hunt!
I ended having some unplanned spare time this Saturday, and decided to make a go of the quest once again. So I put in another 200 miles of mostly congested highway and suburbs. This time I ventured to the back of the fire facility parking lot and found her right away.
There she was in bits and pieces. The main statue sits among her strapped & wrapped pedestal and base.
It was sad to see her plopped in the corner of a municipal employee parking lot. It did have its pros though, because I was able to see her very “up close and personal”.
I have to admit, her face is pretty scary at close range. (I couldn’t help but think of the statues coming to life in Devil’s Advocate)
So, I finally have my Madonna. Hopefully, she will find her way back to her original home or a suitable replacement site soon. It’s sad to see her abandoned behind a building where no one can look up at her and perhaps appreciate the trials, tribulations, and adventures of our “foremothers”.
I’ll check now and again for updates on her location and I plan to re-visit her when she’s proudly displayed once more.
I resisted the temptation to put my helmet on the son’s head — but I did lay it at the Madonna’s feet.